Chemistry and Biochemistry

BYU team breaks down major players in cell to score future cancer therapy wins

Posted: Jul 12, 2019

For the past five years, researchers at BYU have studied protein complexes that have the job of regulating cell growth and survival, processes that are essential for cells to grow healthily. Consequently, these protein complexes are also a target for cancer and other diseases.

The team is working to better understand the role and functionality of the complex, named the mechanistic target of rapamycin - or mTOR for short.

Learning more about mTOR and how it works is a stepping stone for others who might look for cancer therapies or ways to help treat diabetes and other diseases.

“We are not developing cancer therapies directly, but we are contribute to the fundamental understanding of cellular function that underlies those types of treatments,” said BYU professor and lead author Barry Willardson.

In a study published in Nature Communications, Willardson, along with several BYU students, including current graduate students Nicole Tensmeyer and Grant Ludlam, looked at how the mTOR complexes are assembled.

Click to read the full BYU News article